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Scarlet Waxcap - Hygrocybe coccinea

Scarlet Waxcap - Hygrocybe coccinea

Main features

  • Fruits Autumn to Winter

  • Grows in grazed or mown grassland that has not been treated for many years

  • Found as individuals or in groups

  • Smells mild

  • Cap deep red becoming paler with age

  • Cap starts off convex and often has a broad umbo 

  • Cap flattens with age and sometimes has a central depression

  • Cap is 2-5cm wide

  • Stem is red at the top going through orange to yellow at the base

  • The stem has no skirt or ring

  • Stem is 0.5-0.8cm wide and up to 6cm tall

  • Gills start of red-orange and pale to almost white with age

  • Gills are adnexed

  • Flesh is orange

  • Spore print is white

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Scarlet Waxcap - Hygrocybe coccinea

Edible mushroom - intermediate

Other common names: Righteous Red Waxycap, Scarlet Hood


Scientific name meaning: The genus name comes from the Greek words Hyrgos, meaning wet. The  Latin word Coccineus, meaning scarlet or red, is the origin of the species name


Seaons - when will i find it? Autumn to Winter


Habitat - where will I find it? The Scarlet Waxcap is a grassland mushroom, and particularly likes cut or grazed grass that has not been treated with any fertiliser or pesticides

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: Thought to be saprobic for a long time, it is now thought this mushroom has an endophytic relationship with Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). It can be found as individual specimens or in groups

Cap: The cap starts off a deep red colour, turning orange and gaining a yellow rim with age. Starting off convex, often with a broad umbo (bump) it flattens with age, sometimes depressing in the centre. They are 2-5cm wide and feel greasy to the touch, and can be slimy when young

Gills: The gills are adnexed (attached to the stem at the very top) and fairly well spaced. They are interspersed with smaller gills from the cap edge.

The start of red-orange with yellow edges becoming paler and almost white as they age

Flesh: Orange

Stem: Delicate, cylindrical, 3-6cm tall and 0.5-0.8mm wide. It is red at the top, going through orange and eventually yellow tomes towards the base. It has no ring or skirt

Smell: Mild

Spore colour: White

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with any of the other red wax caps. However, these are all edible (please see use as food). Could also be confused with the inedible Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica), but this turns black where damaged

Use as a food Although the Scarlet Waxcap is a considered a good tasting edible, habitat destruction means this is now a rare mushroom. Because of this, collection for consumption is discouraged

Use in medicine None known. Please let us know if you know of any

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom can grow on roadside grass verges where it can accumulate traffic-related toxins. It is advisable to avoid harvesting from the sides of busy roads

Importance to other species None known. Please let us know if you know of any

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Scarlet Waxcap - Hygrocybe coccinea
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